Using network analysis to conduct a system-wide program evaluation within a university

Abstract

Objective: To conduct a system-wide assessment using social network analysis (SNA) to examine how 14 important issues (e.g., consent; racism) are addressed through education, training, and programming at a university.

Methods: Evaluators conducted interviews with campus departments responsible for educating/training on the 14 issues. Interviews revealed which programs (n=52) were offered that addressed the 14 issues, and data on audience characteristics, date of delivery, and which issues were covered in each program were collected. SNA was used to calculate degree and create visualization graphs illustrating patterns of content-coverage across all 52 programs.

Results: The average degree was 19.38 (SD=9.70), meaning programs overlapped in topic area with nearly 20 other programs, on average. Most programs (n=36; 69.2 %) were attended by audiences of 500 people or less. “Diversity and inclusion” represented the topic area with the most programs (n=23), whereas “suicide” and “bullying/hazing” had the least number of programs (n=3). Degree was negatively correlated with attendance numbers (r=-.310, p < .001), indicating the more a program overlapped in content with other programs, the smaller the audience.

Conclusions: This study supports the use of network analysis in conducting systemic evaluations of programs offered at a university, complementing the work of ongoing, local-level program evaluations.

Publication
Evaluation and Progam Planning
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